Best Banks For Students

Finding one of the best banks for students is a good bit easier than it was years ago.

Whether you’re a high school student, a college student, or anything in between, there is no shortage of banks to choose from.

Not only does having a bank account give you control over your own day-to-day finances, but it also enables you to start saving money for the future.

If you don’t have a student bank account already, or if you’re just shopping around, you’ve come to the right place.

In this post, you’ll learn about the best banks for students, with a focus on specific products and features that are relevant to younger people.

In This Article

10 Best Banks for Students

Here are the 10 best banks for students:

  1. 🏆 Bank of America: Best For Savings
  2. Chase Bank: Best for College Students
  3. U.S. Bank: Best For Low Fees
  4. Capital One: Best For High School Students
  5. Ally Bank: Best Online Bank
  6. PNC Bank: Best For International Students
  7. Discover Bank: Best For Credit Cards
  8. Wells Fargo: Best For Local Branches
  9. TD Bank: Best Customer Service
  10. Alliant Credit Union: Best Credit Union

1. Bank of America: Best For Savings Bank of America Logo

Bank of America (BoA) is the second-largest bank in the U.S., with 4,600 branches and over 16,000 ATM locations. BoA’s physical locations serve 37 states, plus Washington, D.C. The national bank also offers a comprehensive online banking platform and top-rated mobile app.

Products and Features For Students

Bank of America’s Advantage SafeBalance Banking is a checking account specifically for students. If you’re under 24 and enrolled in high school or college, you won’t have to worry about a monthly maintenance fee.

You’ll also be protected against spending too much, with no overdraft fees if your account goes into the negative. The account is checkless (which means you can’t write checks), but you can make payments with a debit card, digital wallet, or through the mobile app.

BoA also offers two student credit card options: Cash Rewards and Travel Rewards. These cards allow you to earn points on qualifying purchases and build up your credit score — but only if you stay on top of your payments.

Why We Picked It

As far as being one of the best banks, BoA is a strong option. With coverage across most of the country, you’re bound to have access to a branch or ATM, even if you attend school out-of-state.

BoA’s mobile app, which ranks at 4.8 stars (out of 5) in the App Store, and 4.7 stars (out of 5) in the Google Play Store, is one of the top-rated financial apps. When you need help, you’ll also have access to a large customer service network.

The thing that really sets Bank of America apart for students is the Advantage Savings account, which comes with no monthly maintenance fee for students. Coupled with BOA’s “Keep The Change” feature, which automatically rounds off transactions to the nearest dollar and throws the remainder into savings, students can save more than ever before without having to do any budgeting.

This way, if an emergency expense comes up — like replacing the textbook that your roommate borrowed and accidentally left at the library — you won’t have to go asking your parents for money.

2. Chase Bank: Best Bank for College Students Chase Logo

Chase Bank is the largest bank in the U.S. Headquartered in New York, Chase Bank has more than 4,700 brick and mortar locations and 16,000 ATMs, serving around half of the entire U.S. population.

Products and Features For Students

Chase Bank has products for all ages, with accounts intended for people as young as six. Students between the ages of 13 and 17 can sign up for a Chase High School Checking℠ account. Chase College Checking℠ accounts are for students between the ages of 17 and 24.

High School Checking and College Checking accounts are similar. However, the high school option requires a parent or guardian to sign on as a co-owner. College Checking does have a $6 monthly service fee, but you can get it waived with proof of student status.

Chase is also well-known for its credit cards. With the Freedom Student card, you can earn 1% back on any purchases and get access to free credit score tracking, regular credit limit increase opportunities, and bonuses for staying in good standing.

Why We Picked It

Chase is an all-in-one banking option that provides accessibility, convenience, and a wide variety of products and services.

One thing that Chase tends to do better than anyone else is incentivizing new customers with Chase bonuses and promotions, and it’s no different with student accounts.

Currently, Chase is giving away $100 for opening a College Checking account. All you have to do is make ten transactions within the first two months of opening your account. You can also earn a $50 bonus on the Freedom Student card after making your first purchase.

3. U.S. Bank: Best For Low Fees  U.S. Bank Logo

If you live or attend school in the West or Midwest, U.S. Bank could be the perfect fit. As the fifth-largest bank in the U.S., with 3,000 locations in 26 states, it’s easy to find a branch or ATM near you.

Products and Features For Students

The U.S. Bank Student Checking account works for high school and college students and comes with all of the essentials. A Visa debit card, access to online and mobile banking, and your first box of paper checks are included for free.

U.S. Bank doesn’t offer a specific savings account or credit card for students, but it does have options in each area that still fit students’ needs. For example, students can easily link a Standard Savings account with a Student Checking account. There are also several credit card options with no annual fee and low-interest rates.

Why We Picked It

When it comes to student bank accounts, avoiding fees is a must. Between overdraft fees and account maintenance fees, if you tend to carry a low bank account balance, you can easily lose $50 or more each month if you’re not careful.

U.S. Bank does a great job in this area. Student Checking has no monthly fee and offers fee-free overdraft protection with a linked account. You can also get reimbursed for up to 4 fees for using non-U.S. Bank ATMs per month.

This can be especially helpful if you attend school in a state where U.S. Bank doesn’t have a physical presence.

4. Capital One: Best High School Student Checking Account Capital One Logo

Capital One is a hybrid bank with both physical locations and an online presence. The bank tends to lean online, but if you live in the Mid-Atlantic or Northeast regions, there are plenty of brick and mortar branches. (Some of them even have built-in cafes!)

Capital One is among the largest credit card providers in the country, coming in fifth in total credit cards issued. By comparison, only the Big Four banks (Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Citigroup) issue more credit cards.

Products and Features For Students

Capital One has two checking account options for students depending on their age: Capital One 360 and the MONEY teen checking account.

Capital One 360 is an excellent everyday checking account for adults and college students. MONEY, on the other hand, is specifically intended as a checking account for teens.

Here’s how it works:

360 Checking comes with no monthly account fees and the option to add overdraft protection. If you activate overdraft protection and then try to make a purchase with a low balance, you’ll have three options:

  • Auto-decline the card purchase
  • Cover the payment by automatically transferring money over from your savings account
  • Take advantage of a 24-hour no overdraft fee grace period to settle up the balance

When it comes to credit cards, Capital One’s Journey Student Rewards credit card has no annual fee and only requires only fair credit to enroll. The card also comes along with some nice perks, including a $60 annual credit for streaming services and a cashback rewards boost for paying your bill on time.

Why We Picked It

The MONEY teen checking account is one of the most impressive bank options for high school students. Students can get a taste of budgeting and saving, while parents are empowered to auto-pay allowance and keep track of spending habits.

Beyond that, Capital One is a well-rounded bank with a wide variety of quality services — especially if you live in an area with a physical branch. The bank blends the seamless functionality of a big national bank with the perks and tech of an online-only bank.

Furthermore, Capital One’s mobile app comes in at 4.8 stars (out of 5) in the App Store and 4.6 stars (out of 5) in the Google Play Store, making it one of the highest-rated banking apps.

5. Ally Bank: Best Online Bank Ally Bank Logo

Ally Bank is an online-only bank that consistently ranks as one of the best in its class. Ally is headquartered in Utah and has zero physical locations or branded ATMs.

In recent years, Ally has built a reputation for offering competitive APYs on high-yield savings accounts (HYSAs) while providing intuitive online and mobile experiences.

Products and Features For Students

As with most online-only banks, Ally Bank carries less overhead than traditional big banks. As a result, they can charge low-to-no fees while offering better annual percentage yields (APYs) to customers.

Ally has one checking account available for students, which is called the Ally Interest Checking Account, which offers an impressive 0.10% APY.

This account is accessed through Ally’s well-rated mobile app, which has 4.7 stars (out of 5) in the App Store, and 4.3 stars (out of 5) in the Google Play Store. Ally’s app has a mobile check deposit feature that is especially easy to use.

Why We Picked It

Ally’s user-friendly online platform pays you interest on checking deposits, and there’s no monthly maintenance fee and no minimum balance requirement. Those facts alone give them the edge in the online-only banking category.

As more students and non-students alike turn to online-only platforms, Ally will be an attractive option for many. For students, specifically, the concept of an online bank makes sense because if you travel out-of-state for school or any other reason, your bank goes with you — so as long as your smartphone has a charge!

If you’re worried about ATM access, Ally has you covered there, too. Ally is part of the Allpoint network, which means you can access over 40,000 Allpoint ATMs throughout the U.S. for free.

And, if you wind up getting dinged for using an out-of-network ATM, Ally will reimburse you for up to $10 per month for ATM fees. Ally Bank should serve students well — long after graduation.

6. PNC Bank: Best For International Students PNC Bank Logo

Pittsburgh-based PNC Bank has over 2,300 locations in 22 states. PNC primarily operates in the Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, and Midwest regions and boasts the fourth largest ATM network of all banks in the U.S.

Products and Features For Students

For students, PNC brings the full package with the Virtual Wallet Student account.

Virtual Wallet is a bundle of three linked accounts called “Spend”, “Reserve”, and “Growth”. Each account serves a different purpose, as follows:

  • Spend is your primary checking account.
  • Reserve is for short-term online savings
  • Growth is for long-term online savings

The above accounts all come with no service fees and overdraft forgiveness on the first occurrence. PNC also waives out-of-network ATMs two times per month.

One thing to keep in mind is that PNC student accounts typically last for six years. Once you’re done with school, your account will automatically convert to the standard Virtual Wallet, which offers the same types of benefits.

Why We Picked It

PNC stands out for international students because you can receive one incoming international wire transfer per statement cycle at no charge.

So, if your parents or a family member is sending you funds each month from out of the country (not uncommon for international students), you don’t have to worry about wasting money on a transfer fee.

Also, if you or your family members need help along the way, PNC’s interpreters speak over 240 different languages. Suffice to say, PNC should be able to help with most non-English speakers.

7. Discover Bank: Best For Credit Cards Discover Bank Logo

Discover Bank is primarily an online bank that is widely known for credit card products, with over 50 million credit card customers. Discover also offers checking accounts, savings accounts, student loans, and more.

Products and Features For Students

The Discover Cashback Debit account is an attractive option for students. It’s one of the few checking accounts out that offers cash back rewards on debit purchases. You can earn 1% on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases every month without having to worry about carrying a credit card balance.

In a nutshell, with the Discover Cashback Debit card, students can experience the feel of what it’s like to use a credit card, but without the risk. The account also boasts zero fees and free withdrawals at over 60,000 ATMs nationwide.

Discover also offers the following credit card products for students:

  • Discover It Student Cash Back, which pays 5% cash back on rotating categories each quarter (e.g., Amazon, groceries, gas, and restaurants). Students can also earn a $20 statement credit each year that they maintain a 3.0 or higher GPA.
  • Chrome for Students is designed for students looking to build their credit. You can earn 2% cash back on rotating categories and 1% back on all other purchases.

Why We Picked It

Discover’s banking options are solid, but there’s a reason that the company is best known for credit cards. If you’re a student and in the market for a credit card, it’s hard to find better options than Discover It Student Cash Back and Chrome for Students.

Both cards also come with no annual fee and no late fee on your first late payment. It’s also pretty awesome that you can get paid for having good grades.

But, whatever you do, make sure to always pay off your cards on time, and don’t spend more on your credit cards than you can afford.

8. Wells Fargo: Best For Local Branches Wells Fargo Logo

Wells Fargo is the fourth-largest bank in the U.S., making it a part of the Big Four. Wells Fargo is based out of San Francisco and has more physical branches than any other bank.

As you might expect from a national bank of this size, Wells Fargo offers a ton of services, from bank accounts to credit cards to wealth management.

Products and Features For Students

Wells Fargo has two accounts that stand out for young people:

  • Wells Fargo Clear Access Banking is a low fee checking account with no fees for account holders ages 13 to 24. The account also doesn’t charge overdraft fees or non-sufficient fund fees.
  • Wells Fargo Everyday Checking is recommended for college students. Monthly fees are waived if you’re less than 25 years old.

Why We Picked It

Wells Fargo has a massive presence and appealing account options for students. If you’re looking for a bank with a ton of local branches or frequently make ATM transactions, Wells Fargo might be your best pick.

9. TD Bank: Best Customer Service TD Bank Logo

TD Bank has 1,300 locations, mostly on the East Coast. The bank has become well known for its convenience-driven banking approach. For example, most branches operate longer hours and are open seven days a week, making it easier for customers that work during traditional banking hours.

Customers seem to be responding well to these tactics. TD Bank has recently won awards for providing the best customer experience.

Products and Features For Students

TD Bank offers free checking accounts for students ages 17 to 23. With a TD Convenience Checking account, there are no balance requirements and no monthly fees.

TD Bank’s powerful mobile app is rated at 4.8 stars (out of 5) in the App Store and 4.6 stars in the Google Play Store. The app’s bill pay feature makes it easy to stay on top of your bills. You’ll also be able to use Zelle, which helps you transfer money instantly to other accounts.

Why We Picked It

The combination of a fee-free checking account, solid mobile app, and best-rated customer service make TD Bank a smart option for students — especially those on the East Coast.

Another benefit is that once you’re out of school, you’ll already have your foot in the door with the leading financial institution. TD Bank’s investment and brokerage accounts are also very well-rated.

10. Alliant Credit Union: Best Credit Union Alliant Credit Union Logo

Chicago-based Alliant Credit Union is the only credit union on this list. Alliant has been around since 1935, providing a community-driven approach to the world of big banking. As a not-for-profit organization, Alliant and its customers all have a shared vested interest in the business’s success.

Not just anyone can become an Alliant customer, though. To qualify, you either have to live in the Chicagoland area or have an immediate family member who is already banking with Alliant.

Products and Features For Students

Alliant’s Teen Checking account is built for high school students between the ages of 13 and 17. The account requires joint ownership with a parent (who must be an Alliant member).

Teen Checking requires no minimum deposit requirement and charges no service fees. You can also get $20 worth of ATM fee reimbursement each month (which you might not even need, considering Alliant has over 80,000 fee-free ATM locations).

Why We Picked It

Alliant is unique in this group because it’s a not-for-profit credit union that aims to put its members first.

If you’re looking for something different than the traditional big bank experience and live in the Chicagoland area, Alliant might be a good choice.

Best Banks for Students FAQs

What is a student bank account?

A student bank account is an account that provides perks and services that typically appeal to high school or college students.

Student bank accounts can be specifically available to young people (e.g., PNC Bank’s Virtual Wallet Student Account) or, they might be regular accounts with special exceptions for younger customers.

Student bank accounts generally take into consideration the fact that students are less financially stable than more experienced banking customers.

With that in mind, it’s common for student bank accounts to come with low-to-no fees, overdraft protection, and ATM reimbursements. Most student bank accounts are member FDIC.

Why do I need a student bank account?

It’s a good idea to have a student bank account, so you can save money and manage your own expenses.

Accounts that are geared toward students are great starting points because you can usually avoid fees while trying your hands at using a real bank.

If you work, having your own bank account also makes it easy for your employer to pay you via direct deposit.

Which is the best student bank account?

The best student bank account is the one that serves your individual needs, allows you to make smart financial moves, and doesn’t charge fees.

It won’t be the same for everyone. Some students might prefer to work with big traditional banks that operate both where they live and across state lines.

Others might prefer an online-only bank. The first step is deciding what type of bank experience you want to have and narrow down your focus from there.

Best Banks For Students – Which is Best for YOU?

For many, opening a student bank account is going to be the first step of a long financial journey.

The earlier you open a new bank account and start saving money, the better off you’ll be down the road.